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Ivanovic beats Wozniacki to claim Toray Pan Pacific title

by

AP

Third-seeded Ana Ivanovic of Serbia beat second-seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark 6-2, 7-6 (7-2) on Sunday to win the Toray Pan Pacific Open and capture her fourth WTA title of the year.

In a match that featured two former world No. 1s, Ivanovic broke Wozniacki three times in the first set at Ariake Coliseum and won the second-set tiebreaker with a forehand to the corner to capture her first Pan Pacific title.

“The key for me was coming forward to the net,” Ivanovic said. “She is a great offensive player and gets a lot of balls back so it was important for me to come forward and play well at the net.”

Ivanovic, who is No. 8 in the rankings, did not drop a set en route to Sunday’s title.

U.S. Open finalist Wozniacki, who won this tournament in 2010, had her serve broken to go down 3-2 in the first set and then lost the next three games as Ivanovic seized the momentum.

Wozniacki broke serve for a 3-1 second set lead and was up 30-15 in the fourth game, just two points from a 4-1 lead. But Ivanovic came storming back, winning five of the next eight games to push the set to a tiebreak, where she played almost flawlessly.

Ivanovic first played at the Pan Pacific eight years ago when she finished runnerup, her best result before Sunday’s win.

“I’ve always enjoyed coming here,” Ivanovic said. “This is a great event and winning today puts me one step closer to the WTA Finals in Singapore.

With the victory, Ivanovic is projected to move from No.8 to No.5 in the rankings.

Li says time is right

AFP-JIJI

Pioneering Chinese tennis star Li Na said Sunday she has “no regrets” about her decision to retire over persistent knee injuries, but told an emotional news conference she reached the decision only after thinking long and hard.

The two-time Grand Slam winner made her first public remarks since she announced her shock retirement via social media on Friday.

“I’m very satisfied with my tennis career,” the 32-year-old Li said at a news conference at China’s National Tennis Centre, which hosts the China Open later this month.

“I feel this is the best time for me to retire. I don’t feel sorry or have any regrets about retiring. When I was making this decision, I asked myself, ‘If I retire, will I regret it?’ ”

“My heart told me I wouldn’t, because I’ve done my best,” she said.

The event was an emotional one both for Li and the nearly 200 journalists who attended her farewell.

At one point, a Chinese journalist raised his hand to ask a question, but then suddenly went silent before breaking down into tears.

Li responded with her characteristic wit.

“Here, take this,” she said, holding out a tissue from her seat at the podium and holding back tears of her own.

Li’s announcement comes just seven months after she lifted the Australian Open title, one of her career highlights following her historic French Open win of 2011.

In postings on Facebook on Friday, she wrote that “after four knee surgeries and hundreds of shots injected into my knee weekly to alleviate swelling and pain, my body is begging me to stop the pounding.”